Cygnet Law: Supporting your adoption journey

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Adoption reshapes lives by legally transferring the rights, responsibilities, and relationships of a child to new parents. At Cygnet Law, we are proud to have a team of specialist adoption and family law solicitors who handle the adoption process with expertise, ensuring the child is treated as if born to the adoptive parents.

The laws surrounding adoption can be complex, so discussing your case with our expert solicitors is the best way to guide you through this important journey.

Adopting a child can be emotionally demanding, and we are here to support you through every stage. Our family law team will explain each part of the process, ensuring you fully understand what adoption entails.

The legal aspect of adoption in England is filled with complexities that can significantly impact the nature of a parental relationship. Adoption law is highly regulated and our goal is to make the process as smooth and stress-free as we can by helping you understand every detail involved.

Different types of adoption

People choose to adopt for various reasons. Some want to adopt children they already know, such as:

  • Partner’s Child: A person wishing to adopt their partner’s child, ensuring the child is legally recognised as theirs.
  • Foster Carers: Foster carers who want to solidify their relationship with a child they have cared for over a year.
  • Long-Term Residents: Special guardians who wish to adopt a child who has lived with them for at least three of the past five years.

For these circumstances, local authorities require notification so they can assess the suitability of the prospective adopter, followed by a court application.

Other circumstances where adoption is necessary are:

  • Children Needing Homes: When individuals or couples wish to adopt a child who is unable to live with their birth parents for various reasons.

In these cases, an authorised agency must be involved in approving the prospective adopters, matching and placing a child with their new family.

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Adoption Orders

To legally establish a relationship between a child and an adoptive parent, an adoption order is necessary. This order terminates the legal rights and responsibilities of the birth parents and others with parental responsibility. The only exception is when a person adopts their partner’s child, making the child legally recognised solely as their own. The legal rights of all others are terminated.


Adoption orders carry profound consequences, and they require the consent of the child’s birth parents. However, if the court deems it necessary for the child’s welfare, it can dispense with the birth parents’ consent.


When making adoption orders, courts consider contact arrangements between the child and their birth parents and siblings. For adoptions as a result of care and placement proceedings, this is usually indirect contact in the form of written updates that are exchanged annually.

The law also allows for orders to be made after the adoption to ensure continued contact when it benefits the child.

Seeking Legal Advice

Given the complexities of adoption, many people seek legal advice in various situations, such as:

  • Considering an application for an adoption order.
  • Birth parents are asked to consent to an adoption order or notified of an application to dispense with their consent.
  • Members of the child’s birth family affected by contact arrangements before or after an adoption order.
  • International adoptions under the Hague Convention.
  • Prospective adopters or birth family members seeking advice when a child has been placed by an agency or when there is a risk of a placement breaking down.

We understand the challenges involved in adopting a child. Our expert team of family law solicitors at Cygnet Law are here to discuss any issues you may have and provide the guidance you need.

For detailed advice and support, please get in touch with our adoption team. Together, we can ensure that your adoption journey is as smooth and stress-free as possible, helping you to welcome a new member into your family with confidence and legal clarity.

To find out all of the ways Cygnet Law can help and support you, visit our website, read our blog section that covers a range of topics, or give us a call.


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